Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Wow. I have no creative thoughts at all. My mind is pretty blank. Which doesn't bode well for the two sermons I need to write for this week.

I have meant to be a regular blog writer, but life has been kicking me in the butt. I'm on the fifth day of migraines, and in the midst of the hyper thyroid part of the treatment of Grave's Disease. So, it's day by day.

Right now hubby and I are playing the game of "who's feeling worse." He's got a nasty cold and sinus headache. So we're kind of a drag around here, both girls are sick too.

Better news will hopefully be coming!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Moving Through Advent

Advent inspiration.
(image from flikr)

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Down but not Out

Sitting by the tree, watching Cupcake Wars, the children are asleep, hubby is snoring, and I'm getting ready to snuggle in for the night. I'm not fully ready for service tomorrow, but it will be OK. This Grave's Disease is kicking my butt, but this is not the end of the world. I will survive!

Monday, November 08, 2010

November Preparations

(image from Flicker)
Now that November is here, its time to gear up for a busy ministry season, and for hosting Thanksgiving. Cooking for guests always makes me a nervous wreck! As a domestically challenged person, it absolutely freaks me out that I have to plan, prepare and serve all these meals to these people. Its hard enough for me to feed my family from day to day! So I'm trying to save myself some stress by finding simple child friendly recipes and trying them out on my family. And finding the most simple Thanksgiving Day recipes too. Breathe! It will be OK!

Angst about food aside, we have some major cleaning to do, which is challenging when you have children following behind you undoing all your organization with chaos. I'm actually kind of pumped about the cleaning part, because I envision our friends and their kids here, enjoying our home, and feeling comfortable with us. I can't wait to see them!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

sun on the mountain

Classic Collage 3x5 folded card
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Friday, October 08, 2010

Painful Weddings

Wedding tomorrow. I am dreading it, as is most everyone involved in it. The bride and groom can't wait for it to just be over. So much drama, so much smack talking, so much family dysfunction. Brides family hates groom, tries to manipulate bride, and are attention seeking drama queens and kings. Grooms family is somewhat messed up, but pretty stable at this point. And absolutely appalled at the bride's families behavior. I was sooo glad when the rehearsal was over. I didn't know if the bride was going to get through the evening. I tried to be supportive of her and help her out, but ended up being loathed by her sisters who are against the wedding.

Yuck. Yuckity yuck. And know I'm trying to figure out what to preach at the wedding! I'd love to tell them to all grow up and get a clue, but that wouldn't really be pastoral or appropriate. (But many of them could use a good stern lecture about their selfishness). So what do I preach to these people who are so divided and upset and dysfunctional? What can they hear, really, at this point?

Might have to sleep on this one.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Getting our Spook On

picture by faith goble, from flickr

We're getting ready for Halloween at our place. The window clings are up, and the rest of the decorations will come out tomorrow. Some of the ladies at the church and I are planning an All Hallow's Eve party on the 31st, games and food and prizes all on the parsonage lawn. I'm getting pumped about it! We're going to advertise in all the surrounding communities, since people tend to have to travel quite far for trick-or-treating anyway. I think we could have a GREAT turnout, if the weather SO much fun to do it on our big lawn. Here's hoping!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Thoughts during the Conference

You can tell when the fall schedule comes. Conferences, school schedule, game schedules, and confirmation class planning. It certainly gears up! This is the last day of our Fall Pastors' Theological Conference, which has been interesting and somewhat helpful. I think the best thing about it is the chance to laugh with other pastors, and get some sleep.

Its been so nice to see young couples and children at the conference. There has been a turn-over in our synod this past year, and the young vs. older ratio is changing among our pastors. Since so many of ours are approaching retirement age, it is nice to see that new faces are arriving.

As always, we have been presented with much good information. The challenge is to ponder and integrate it, instead of it slipping away as we jump back into the rush of our usual schedules. This happens with all continuing ed. It's all so interesting and exciting, but its hard to really think it through and make it happen somehow in ministry when you go straight back into the intensity of every-day schedules. The busy rut makes it hard to be creative and implement new things. Not impossible, it takes intentionality and hard work. The onus is on us. But it is far too easy to let the good stuff slip away as we slog away in the trenches. I'm pondering how to address this for myself.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Class

Last day of Continuing Education class. Its been interesting and challenging, and I hope to be able to let it work on my brain and assumptions. And impact the ministry I'm leading. When class is done, we pack up and head to RevDad's parents' place. Tomorrow we meet friends at the Renaissance Festival, then spend the rest of the weekend with the grandparents. We hope it will be a good ending to these two weeks away.

I do really hope that this can bring a sense of renewal for me, and bring a good spirit to the parish. We need an uplift after a very difficult year.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Isaiah 40:1-2

"Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins."

Fascinating class today. Taking on God as warrior, taking on violence in the Bible. That God punishes in the Bible. How do we speak about this to our people? How do we be authentic and honest about the darkness and pain? The overall point of this continuing ed is to think about how we break down the barriers that keep people from engaging Scripture.

Lots to think about....

Monday, August 16, 2010

Learning Something

Continuing education has begun! It feels so good to be back in the classroom. Only one session so far, but very interesting so far. RevDad's aunt and uncle are watching the girls, we'll see how that goes...they can be much more than a handful.

I'm glad for this week of learning. It's so good to soak up new perspectives and think in new ways. Be enlightened. Its so easy to get stuck in your own ruts, your own ways of thinking, your own perspectives. So yay for life long learning!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. Amen.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Count to Ten, Take a Deep Breath

The countdown has begun.

Our vacation / continuing education trip starts in 6 days.

Before then the house needs to be quick cleaned and the car needs to be cleaned out.
The fall worship plans need to be finalized and emailed to the secretary and musicians.
I need to talk to the Parish president about some possible vacation time in September and about a stewardship emphasis I want to do in October.
I need to talk with my confirmation teachers to go through the changes in the program, and the new schedule.
I have a telephone interview, premarital counseling session, a nursing home worship service, a wedding rehearsal, and a wedding to do.

And I need to pack. Myself, Lil' Princess, and SweetBaby. Pack enough for two weeks. The baby stuff alone will fill the car to the brim!

I'm attempting not to hyperventilate.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

All of a Sudden


All of a sudden, it occurred to me today all that I need to get done now that August is just a few days away. Confirmation parent letters need to go out, meeting with confirmation leaders needs to be planned and arranged, fall worship plans need to be made and emailed, fall stewardship plan need to be finalized and brought to the parish board, visitation schedule needs to be finalized, and I'm sure there are some things I'm forgetting. For the family, we have to finalize our vacation plans (hello, only two weeks away!), and get our back-to-school shopping done. Now that Lil' Princess is 7, she has definite opinions about what she wants to wear and have, so it does complicate the shopping process at times. And it can make it more fun too. I remember fondly all the shopping trips with my mom, and I hope to have that with her.

There's so much I wanted to get done this summer. Basically, I had hoped to get through our stuff. Go through the whole house, sort through all the boxes, get rid of stuff, and organize what we keep. Which is a ridiculously huge goal, but a good one! I got through about a third of the basement, which I am proud of. It was a HUGE mess, and hard work. But now the main living area is a very nice space that is safe for SweetBaby to play in, and a pleasant place for all of us to hang out in. I just have to keep going, and not let it end there! Finish the basement, and move on up the stairs. The part I'm not looking forward to is the storage room where all the unopened boxes are stuffed, and all the Christmas decorations are lodged. It is the black hole of miscellaneous odds and ends. BUT how amazing it will be when it is done!!! A whole room available for use!!! Maybe I could even set it up as a sewing and hobby room. That would be soooo cool. Focus on the goal.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The World is Green (and Stinky)

Poop. I'm trying to work on my sermon on the Lord's Prayer, but instead I'm dealing with two sick girls and poopy diapers. Funny how parenthood and exhaustion work on your brain. Instead of musing on the significance of the gift of this prayer that Jesus has given us, a prayer that so many generations have shared, and the amazing claims we make within it, I have been thinking about the amazing forms in which baby poop can come. This is because today's was really nasty, sort of a dark green pudding that went everywhere. Just when I thought I'd had it all, I had to get another wipe out to catch another bit. Oh joy!

Somehow, I don't think diapers and poop will work as a sermon illustration. Most really don't want to hear about poop consistency. Usually grandparents are the only ones interested!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Life is Like That

Summer is quickly rolling by. In a little over a month school will resume! I've been working on confirmation, and thinking about what needs to be purchased for Lil' Princess before the school bus comes rumbling down the street. Sweet Baby has grown by leaps and bounds, and seems to be just a breath away from taking steps. And I think the schedule this summer has been crazier than any winter schedule! This week is particularly insane, and I'm still not sure how in the world I'm going to make Wednesday and Thursday work. Since it is impossible to be in two places at once....

We're planning on a little escape, a little vacation in August before everything switches gears. We still haven't agreed on what exactly we're going to do, where we're going to go. RevDad and I have different ideas about what is a relaxing and fun vacation. Soooo...we need to get our rears in gear, we're running out of time! So we'll see what compromise brings us.

Urgh. Time to go to bed. I'm sure SweetBaby will get me up at least once, and tomorrow will be an insane day. Here comes the ZZZZZ's!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Summer Time

Summer is here! School is out, the days are (mostly) warm, and almost all of my flowers are planted. There are a few perennials I want to try out, and some annuals to put in pots on the front steps, but the majority is done.

SweetBaby is finally baptized. It was so nice, our good friend did the baptizing, her godparents came from far away to be there, and two dozen members from my congregations attended the late afternoon service. After-wards we had cake and coffee, and lots of nice conversation. It was a sweet, meaningful time. Lil' Princess loved getting the chance to play with her cousins.

Now its time to figure out how this summer schedule and life is going to work. I think we all feel a little out of sorts, and out of kilter. SweetBaby's napping and sleeping schedule is all out of whack. Lil' P is alternating between excited and whiney. And RevDad and I are just really tired.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New Screen to Enjoy

I got my birthday/Mother's day present yesterday...a new laptop computer. It's so purty!! Shiny, clean, fast, gleaming with possibilities. I just can't keep my happy little fingers off of it. It might even encourage me to write a manuscript sermon this week - one never knows!

It's a very full week at our household. We had a long day going to far-away Big City yesterday, followed by a concert at school last night. Today is a doctor's appt., text study, and a dance lesson for Lil' Princess and a pre-marital counseling appt. for me tonight. Tomorrow is crazy busy too with confirmation and meetings. Thursday I might get to breath a bit.

I'm actually looking forward to thinking out the lessons for this Sunday's sermon. The first lesson, from Acts, is so full of good stuff, and there are so many good directions to go in. Plus its Senior Recognition, so that is a fun and uplifting time too.

A very full week ahead, and a fun new tool to use to get it all done. All in all, I guess I can't complain.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Happy Natality

Happy birthday to me, and my brother, and my niece, and my big girl! It's a big week for births, though we aren't doing anything real big to celebrate. Just nice and relaxed. Just my speed these days.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Never was there such sisters

It's official, SweetBaby is crawling! Forwards, that is. Not quickly or skillfully, but with great determination, and already getting into trouble. We apparently can no longer have anything on the coffee table. And the cords for the keyboard will have to be hidden somehow. She really wanted those cords today. Every time I turned around, she was heading for them. And if you lie down on the floor, she immediately tries to climb up and over you. Our little mountain climber!

Lil' Princess is definitely struggling with this sibling business. She has been the only child for so long. She does love her sister, but it is hard for her to share the attention, and realize that her sister actually comes first for attention under certain circumstances. Without fail, almost every night, she's yelling for me to come exactly when she knows I'm rocking her sister to sleep. And that's why she wants me soooo badly at that very moment. So I've tried to make a point of "picking" her for things, like making sure she knows I'm choosing to read her a story instead of being the one getting Sadie ready for bed. It is wonderful to see that if I bring her little sister in with me to wake her up, she wakes up in such a good mood (otherwise it's a coin-toss between a starting mood of grumpy misery and reluctant obedience - we are NOT morning people in this house).

Right at this moment SweetBaby is attempting to crawl all over RevDad and spouting all kinds of baby talk. Lil' P is busy getting into all the stuff we'd rather she'd leave alone. And RevDad is patiently waiting for me to get done with this post so we can get a small project done before dinner. So, off we go!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Gear Shift

Sweet Baby's latest accomplishment is crawling backwards. She tries with all her might to crawl forwards, her arms pulling her body towards me. But her legs drag her backwards, and since they're stronger, back she goes. The back and the front limbs have yet to figure out how to work in concert, which frustrates her. But she keeps trying, and she keeps backing into furniture, and corners, and all sorts of places she didn't intend to go.

I see waaaaaaay too many similarities with how our lives tend to work. But one day way too soon Sweet Baby will figure this whole crawling thing out, will switch from reverse to forward, and turn our lives upside down (eeep!) But do we ever figure it out?? We intend to move forward, to turn away from our sins, to do better, to be meaningful, to be whatever that vision of ourselves we carry. But in the end, don't we end up backing up into the same old dusty corners? Bringing out the same old favorite sins?

We are both saint and sinner. We earn our sinner status. God gives us our sainthood. There are just many days when I want to ask "make mine a double, Lord!" Because, boy do I need to make up for some big backward steps.

But we're supposed to carry on with boldness anyway. Keep on, even though we are flawed messengers. Trust that God's work through us will be sufficient, that God's grace is sufficient too. Even for us backward crawlers, who never seem to get our forward and reverse figured out.

Monday, April 12, 2010

My man Thomas

photo from flickr

I appreciate Thomas. "Unless I see...unless I touch..." There are plenty of times when a little healthy skepticism, clear questions, and time spent thinking things through is precisely how faith is going to grow and deepen. Maturing in faith is not about closing your mind, but about opening it to how God is at work. Our tendency is to limit how we think God can work or how God can be, or how we can define aspects of faith. But God is sooo much bigger than our little boxes, our little categories.

Thomas had no category in his head to understand a risen Christ. He only knew what he could see and touch, so that is what he asked for. Fortunately for him, he could receive that experience. But we who come after can't. That's why Jesus says, blessed are those who do not see and yet believe. So we rely on the work of the Holy Spirit, the scriptures, prayer, and the support of the Christian community. We ask our questions. We think. We pray. We talk and study with fellow believers.

And God's desire us that we would trust God more and more, and that we would join Thomas in confessing "My Lord and my God!"

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Sermon Woes



That's what any ideas I have had thus far for Sunday's sermon have sounded like. Blah.

It's Jesus appearing the disciples in the locked room after his resurrection, and then appearing again when Thomas is with them (good old "doubting" Thomas).

I am struggling to say anything fresh and new about this encounter. Is there a different angle? Or would this be a good opportunity to talk about doubt. How it's normal. And how God reaches out with blood-stained hands to touch our hearts and lives to nudge aside the doubt and fill up the space with hope and trust.

Or something like that.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Easter Recovery

Easter recovery continues...

Easter Sunday was lovely.

The main church of the parish looked beautiful with all the bright banners, butterflies, and fresh flowers. One of the tulip plants in the Easter memorial garden was given in honor of me and my family by one of the matriarchs of the congregation, which was so sweet. The people needed a little prodding when it came to the call and response "Christ is risen - he is risen indeed!" since it was so early, but they soon caught the enthusiasm. It was a joyful service, and nice to see all the family visiting some of the elderly and infirm members. The sermon even managed to be coherent and different from any Easter sermon I have ever given, so yay!

The little church in the country was not so full. None of the families had big family get-togethers this year. There was a little lingering sadness too, missing the presence of those who have left the church. But SweetBaby certainly livened things up by loudly talking along with me, and accompanying all the hymns, to the delight of all and the embarrassment of her mother. I think everyone felt the lift of Easter, though, the relief of Lent done, the joy of Easter and spring, the readiness to move on to new life and a new stage in the church's life. This church is ready to be done suffering and mourning, and ready to move on to living.

The little church in the town down the road was full to the brim! Our average attendance is ten. This Sunday we filled the place! Having a baptism made a big difference. It was such a joyful event. The baby is 6 months old, two days older than SweetBaby. She was so much fun at the baptism. She was checking everything out, and fully involved in the whole experience. And so cute! There were so many kids, which just delighted our usual members to no end. So many smiles, so much laughter, and communion actually took more than two tables worth! It was great. I almost lost it at one point when I looked back and saw the gentleman of the couple taking care of Sadie, holding her and having quite a conversation back and forth with her. And he had the biggest grin from ear to ear. So much joy was contained in that one little white church (that, truth be known, is usually a kinda grumpy place).

So much to be thankful for...and still exhausted. Today we met with other pastors for text study to get ready for next Sunday, and doubting Thomas. I'm not ready to gear up again! But time marches on, and Sunday comes around again fast. At least Lil' Princess got to color eggs yesterday finally, and she and I helped the quilters for a while. That was so much fun, and the ladies really enjoyed having her there, and encouraged her with different little jobs.

I'm so glad to see the sun today, and to be able to walk outside with just a light jacket. My bulbs are showing up, and I have a real itching to do some weeding and clearing in the flower patches. It will be fun to introduce SweetBaby to the great outdoors, that is until she starts crawling and gets into everything that's unsafe. But that's just how it works!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Easter Wishes

Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed!

A blessed and joyful Easter to all -

"Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen." Luke 24:5b

Friday, April 02, 2010

How Time Flies

Wow, can you tell we have a baby???? I can't believe I haven't posted since Thanksgiving.

We are in the midst of Holy Week.

Maundy Thursday service was positive. I was pleased with my meditation, which was focused on the definitions of love. Turn-out was OK, I was disappointed that so few people from the congregation hosting the service showed up. Basically, just those who were involved in the divesting were there. As always, it seemed like my girls were the highlight of the service for everyone. Even the one particular woman who does not like me is so sweet and patient with Lil' Princess, she makes a point of connecting with her and being kind to her. And of course EVERYONE, including the gruff old ranchers, want to take care of Sweet Baby. The first one to reach for her when I got there was one of these guys!

Tonight is Good Friday. I'm showing the Power Point of pictures from the Way of the Cross walk we experienced in Yarnell AZ in 2005. RevDad remembered this presentation I did back then, and so we're both using it. Just had to do a little rewriting. It really is a powerful way to walk through the events of Good Friday. RevDad gets the girls tonight, which is a relief for me. I don't regularly use a projector like him, so I am a bit anxious about getting it all set up and working.

Still haven't written anything for Easter. Not sure what I'm going to say. I find I need to get through Thursday and Friday before I can really focus on the resurrection message, so Saturday will be a busy day. We will also be coloring eggs and decorating, and both girls will be their usual demanding selves, so it will be the usual crazy balancing act!